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Best Plans for Economic Development in South Dakota

PHOTO: Advocated say that the South Dakota legislator needs to think carefully about what kinds of jobs they bring to their state.
PHOTO: Advocated say that the South Dakota legislator needs to think carefully about what kinds of jobs they bring to their state.
January 7, 2013

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - With South Dakota voters rejecting a large-project development fund last November, it's expected that the new legislature, which begins this week, will seek other other avenues for helping larger businesses expand or locate in the state. Mark Anderson, president of the South Dakota State Federation of Labor, says his group wants to be involved in the discussions, especially when it comes to wages.

"The real issue for working people is wages. We have some of the lowest wages in the country. We're a pretty productive work force, and we have to figure out some way to fix that."

Anderson says legislators have to consider more than just the size of the business interested in expanding.

"When you are dealing with this economic development, they need to be sure that the jobs that they create are good-paying jobs. Just to bring jobs into South Dakota isn't necessarily a good thing; they have to be good-paying jobs and they have to provide a decent living for the people that are doing it."

Anderson says they would like to provide input to legislators working on development proposals. He says there should be some overall value judgments' about those projects.

"Rather than doing low bids or the cheapest bidder, we think that projects like that should be on a different scale where we look at the best value for the community and the people that end up working at the facility. So, I think there's better ways to do it, and that's why if we can get a voice at the table, then you can have some input on that."

The U.S. Census Bureau says South Dakota is ranked 36th in per-capita income in the country, with an annual average of just over $24,900. The U.S. average is just under $28,000.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD